During my downtime, I’ve been obsessively reading the excellent forum dedicated to this bike at http://ltd454.proboards.com/ and found that the problems with the electrics I was having may have simply been a bad ignition switch. It’s also possible that the running issues were down to bad valve clearances, as this engine appears to like to have those adjusted rather frequently (every 5-6000 miles)
Still, photos should make it apparent that the poor thing was well overdue some TLC and I’m hoping that I can do it justice. It will be a great learning experience for me and a good father/son experience and learning opportunity for Oscar. I’m doing most of the nasty taking apart on my own for the time being, and will get Oscar more involved when there’s less chance of stuck fasteners and frustration.
To get my head around the electrics, I have a plan of fixing the whole loom to a wooden board as if it were on the bike, and re-connecting all the electical components to it, and maybe even the engine to see if it will run off the bike where access to the various bits will be easier. Might be a pipedream, and I don’t know what would happen with the ground/earth wires, for example, but it might be worth a try.
I have contacted a local grit blaster and powder coater and discovered that the cost of blasting and coating bits aren’t as bad as I had imagined. I think we’ll strip the frame and do some basic cleanup first, to ensure that there are no cracks or other nasty surprises, but will probably drop it in there eventually to be finished up and coated. We’ll do the tank ourselves with a rattle can (proper prep and a 2-part clear coat), I think, as it’s easier to manage than tubing is, and can easily come off and be re-done at a later date. I only intend to do the frame once :-)
I also found somewhere not too far off that does vapour cleaning of various bits (engine, carbs) – http://www.icmhome.org.uk/index.shtml and I’m considering whether to do that. Maybe the carbs, and just paint the engine, not sure yet.
I’m not decided yet on whether to modify the bike, or just clean it up and put it back together and hope it runs. I really like the modifications done here:
and, because I like the solo look, but feel it would be unfair not to have the option of a pillion for Oscar if he’s been involved in building it, I like the fact that it enables the possibility of using either a solo seat or putting back the original seat with pillion:
Solo seat from Suzuki LS650